Grandparents legal rights over grandchildren, do they even exist and if so, how do you get them? There a many grandparents out there asking this question. By default they do not automatically have legal rights of contact for their grandchildren. However, the courts do recognise the import role that grandparents play in their grandchildren so lives, so unless there is history of abuse or other violence, then it would be very unusual for the court to deny a grandparent contact with their grandchild.
Your next question then might be – Can a grandparent apply for a contact order for their grandchildren? This is where things get a little more difficult. Only those with parental responsibility can apply for contact order, such as parents, guardians or step-parents. So grandparents must first apply for permission to apply for a contact order. In doing this, the court will consider three main factors 1) The grandparents relationship with their grandchild; 2) The nature of the contact application; and 3) Whether the application could be potentially harmful for the grandchild.
If a grandparent is successfully granted permission to apply, they can then apply for a contact order that will be made at the courts discretion. Should there be objections from the child’s parents, then the grandparent will likely have to attend a contested court hearing to obtain the contact order. Upon successfully obtaining a contact order, grandparents will have a legal right to periods of contact (as specified in the order) with their grandchild. As we can see, grandparents legal rights over grandchildren is possible.
So whilst grandparents legal rights over grandchildren are not automatic, they can be gained if the correct process is followed and the correct circumstances are present.
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